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Office Etiquette

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Office Etiquette

Published 1950

Do's and don'ts film portraying ways in which office etiquette contributes to success in office relationships. Follows a young woman who is seeking her first secretarial job and shows examples of good (and hilariously bad) on-the-job behavior.

Run time 14:00
Producer Encyclopaedia Britannica Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W



Office Etiquette is one of the many films that follows a young woman who is seeking a secretarial job. It makes the off-center but accurate point that success in the office is gauged by behavior and interpersonal relationships as well as competence. The do's and don'ts sequence is delightful in its excesses.

Ken Smith sez: A young woman enters the job market and learns from others how to behave in an office. The "do's and don'ts" sequence is one of the more memorable in the Secretarial Film genre.



Reviewer: JSBejma - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 19, 2012
Subject: Youngins Are Probably Wondering What is it Those People are Pulling off Those Typed Sheets.
A great if not outright classic film from that era with a lot of sage advice that oddly enough, was kinda cast aside in those more carefree times, 30 to 40 years ago; but has now reappeared in the age of offices full of paper shuffling business majors working in PC-conducted offices which fuel our now lawsuit-driven economy.

One thing though: Didn't she address the boss as "Mr ArnIE" on that interview and then call him "Mr Arnold" subsequently in front of those other dames? Or was there a blip in the sound track? Maybe Mr A was her uncle or neighbor. One wonders.

But the moral of the story: "tighten up" and suck anus continuously, and, at least look and act like you're minding your own business at all times...and don't forget to enthusiastically join the bowling league (even if you hate bowling)....And before long you'll be lavishly rewarded.

Reviewer: The_Emperor_Of_Television - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 30, 2012
Subject: Not bad
Not bad for the era. Not bad at all.

But of course, the real reason we watch these films is to see the clothes and typewriters and old telephones. Admit it. That's why most of us watch them!
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 2, 2006
Subject: Secretarial Self Improvement
Secretary Joan Spencer tells us the story of her rise from file clerk and stenographer to personnel director. The fact that she manages to leave the secretarial pool at all makes this 1950 film unusual. Her first-person narration gives it an interesting feel. "I planned to get there early that first day," she tells us.I wore my good suit because it was plain and neat. She sounds like Jane Eyre on day she started work for Mr. Rochester at Thorfield Manor. We follow Joan as she makes her first stenographic mistake--"I learned not to resent criticism, but to learn from it." Then we see the other workers who lack Joans sensible virtues (and what a relief it is). We see workers eating at their desks, making personal phone calls, writing personal letters on the typewriters, sneaking looks at the stuff on other peoples desksin other words, doing what we all do. Joans office seems less gender-segregated than the other offices we see in the clerical films in the Archive. The men and women share an open office space and seem to have similar duties. When Joan gets promoted to Personnel Director, she has her own, private office. That makes this film less oppressive than the other films, where we feel the women (or "girls") are stuck in dead-end jobs. Of course, its all due to Miss Purcell, Joans business class teacher, one of the many unmarried, older women who populate these films. Being a spinster was supposedly a dreadful fate in the fifties, but these unmarried women dont seem all that unhappy. Dreary as this office work looks to us, maybe it was preferable to being stuck alone in a suburban house with outmoded and malfunctioning household appliancesthe fate of the married women in many of the Archive films.
Reviewer: autoguy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 20, 2005
Subject: Don't Let This Happen to You
Everything appears completely proper and rosey in this film, until a pattern seems to emerge for those who look beyond the surface fluff. It would seem the local high school has been planted with the puppet of some sort of local corporate conspiracy. This deceptive woman, who claims her name is Purcell in this film, seems to be the first step in a diablical brainwashing plot designed to provide properly programmed subservient workers for the local business community. Workers are manipulated to believe their entire life revolves around their dead end jobs, even to the point where they spend "many long evenings" performing job-related duties at their homes while receiving no pay! That makes it clear that substandard wages and non-exsistant benefits would also be SOP. One employee clearly exhibits the symptoms of acute sleep deprivation, likely from moonlighting to supplement his low income. Throughout this film, the code word "Purcell" is repeatedly heard, alerting the companies that the job applicants have completed the assimilation program and can be immediately hired with no further question. Diabolical genius!
Reviewer: dalangdon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 10, 2005
Subject: A timely lesson for us all.
"Office Etiquette" is an amusing little romp. It tells us the story of Miss Somebody, the star pupil of Miss Dreary, who enjoys the vapid aspects of the office routine. Because of her devotion, she eventually attains the level of Personel Director (back before we had decided that people are actually "human resources")

But not everything is all carbon paper and rubber stamps: The ending has shades of "All About Eve" as a new Miss Somebody, who was also a protege of Miss Dreary, has been hired on. What will happen? The suspense is killing me!

All sarcasm aside, there are some good messages in this film that should be taught today. Things like don't annoy your co-workers by yakking on the phone or sticking your nose in other people's business. And Miss Somebody isn't the sanctimonious "Let's give the company a little bit of our time" simp that sometimes shows up in films like this.

All in all, not a bad little adventure into the land of the office.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 1, 2003
Subject: y.. y.. y.. y.. y..
Another strange Office manners movie made by our friends at EB. Although it lacks the loopiness and ugly characters as Office Courtesy: Meeting The Public, it still offers many loopy surprises.
When a woman named Joan Spencer applies into the typing pool by filling out a very politically incorrect application form (these days) that includes how many children she has, the boss realizes she was part of Miss Purcell's typing class in High School. The boss likes that (this is repeated frequently for some odd reason) and is hired on the spot. After that is a collection of what you should and shouldn't do on the job (what's so funny is that I've totally broken every one of the "shouldn't" things. Next thing you know, Joan becomes her boss's secretary, and then after that, head of Personell! This all looks like the promotion just took place in two days, which may confuse the 50's girl lol. This is a MUST SEE on this site!
Reviewer: dynayellow - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 10, 2003
Subject: Some things never change
A woman on the job reviews what she's learned about office behavior. The examples of what not to do--read the paper, talk on the phone, write letters--haven't really changed all that much. Not really all that funny.
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